Whenever you see a deal involving Los Angeles's Chandler family, you usually see a tax dodge, NewsWeek reports.
And sure enough, the pending sale of Tribune Co., the big media firm in which the Chandlers are the largest shareholders, exploits a loophole so gaping that we taxpayers can only pray that someone closes it quickly. But it's not the Chandlers, the media magnates (L.A. Times and Newsday) whose shenanigans I've tracked for 15 years, who are dodging taxes here. It's Sam Zell, the Chicago real-estate mogul who's buying control of Tribune.
As best I can tell, the Chandlers are willing to pay taxes on their $1.7 billion of sale proceeds just to be out of the newspaper business and to end their battles with Tribune's Chicago-based managers. The Chandler family paying taxes is like the sun rising in the west,an unnatural event.
The family pioneered in tax avoidance when it controlled the old Times Mirror Co., which Tribune bought in 2000. The Chandlers specialized in convoluted transactions designed to give themselves (or Times Mirror) the economic benefits of selling assets without triggering capital-gains tax. (The IRS got two of these deals ruled illegal, forcing Tribune, which is appealing, to fork over $1 billion.)
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